The search for a name
The search for a date
Is a search for a person
Who breathed life into me
Those who’ve gone before
Those who are still here
We all relate
My family and me
This passion, this obsession
This thing called genealogy
Is more than just a family tree
It’s finding those who made me
They beckon me from the distant past
They beckon me from recent graves
They come to me in my dreams
My ancestors talk to me
I need to know where they lived
I need to know what they did
The color of their hair
It’s all a part of me.
This quest to know
This yearning to find
It fills a void
Deep inside me
Today I will search
Today I will find
A little more of the past
A little more of me
This past Saturday I was inducted into the Cooch’s Bridge Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It was overwhelmingly wonderful and quite surreal, and the culmination of nearly thirty years of research into my Bursley family. It would never have been possible without the collaboration with my third and fourth cousins, and underscores the importance of finding others who are researching your lines.
The success with my D.A.R. application (and recent approval of my Mayflower Society application as well) has inspired me to dig back into the family of my 3rd great grandmother, Cynthia (Day) Bursley. I’ve posted a bit about my dilemma previously, having miniscule info to go on to determine Cynthia’s parents, and even worse, a very common surname that also turns up zillions of hits in search engines. However, by golly, I am feeling pretty darn confident in the following indirect evidence, which supports that Cynthia’s parents were Aaron Day and his wife, Martha:
- DNA evidence. A FamilyTree DNA Family Finder autosomal test matched me to a descendant of
I inherited a copy of this photo, which was also posted in an Ancestry.com user tree by another descendant of Aaron Day and his wife Martha
Joseph Warren Day, the youngest son of Aaron Day and his wife Martha. (We share 63.8 cM’s.) An Ancestry.com autosomal test provided two additional genetic matches – both to two separate descendant’s of Aaron’s oldest son, Nathaniel. Our shared, documented family trees demonstrate we are 4th cousins once removed, consistent with the relationship Ancestry predicted by the portion of shared DNA.
- Naming conventions. Cynthia (Day) Bursley named her youngest children Aaron Day Bursley and Martha Eliza Bursley. Cynthia’s presumed brother, Nathaniel, also named one of his daughters Cynthia. This latter Cynthia, daughter of Nathaniel, married Benjamin Lovejoy on 9 Oct 1864 in Medford, Piscataquis County, Maine.
- Duplicate, original family photos. A photograph of a woman labeled Cynthia Lovejoy was listed on the “Scott Kentish and Border” Ancestry.com tree posted by user “devorguilla.” My heart just about stopped beating when I discovered this photo, as I immediately recognized it – I have
my own copy of it in the photo album originally owned by my great, great grandmother, Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood, daughter of Cynthia (Day) Bursley. While the photo identification appears to be incorrect (Cynthia Lovejoy lived in Maine where she died in 1867, age 29, and the photo was taken in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1871 or later), it establishes an undeniable connection between my Cynthia (Day) Bursley and the Day family of Plymouth, Hennepin County, Minnesota, where Nathaniel Day, father of Cynthia (Day) Lovejoy, and presumed brother of Cynthia (Day) Bursley, resided. Continue reading
Robins bring life to the cemetery
I’ve been on a quest for a new point-and-shoot digital camera, primarily for use at archives and libraries. My DSLR was just so heavy and big and difficult to use when photographing documents that require hands to keep flat, and my iPhone just doesn’t have the clarity – especially in dark libraries. In addition, I also wanted one that would double for photographing scenery when out and about. My search led me to the Sony Cybershot RX100, and I couldn’t be more pleased. While shooting pictures at a cemetery this afternoon, I spotted this cheerful robin who was loitering around some headstones. I crept about 8 feet from him, and using the telephoto lens, was able to capture this pic – proof I will be able to leave my DSLR and lenses at home on my research trips. :-)
The mailbox – another love of genealogists!
From childhood, the mailbox has always created a sense of expectancy for me. However, genealogy has created an obsession with mail delivery. What genealogist isn’t waiting for something at any given moment? I will be very happy this afternoon if I receive any of the following items I’m currently waiting for:
1) My grandmother’s social security application.
2) The Milo Story, a book about Milo (of course!) in Piscataquis County, Maine, by Lloyd J. Treworgy.
3) Documents from new-found cousin, including photos and a copy of a chart drawn in the late 1800s showing relationships to a common ancestor.
4) Notification of approval of my Daughters of the American Revolution application.
5) Notification of approval of my Mayflower Society application.
What are you hoping to find in YOUR mailbox today?
The War Eagle, upon which Amos drafted this letter to his father, Nathaniel Day.
I spent my Valentine’s Day happily buried in pension and land records at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. On my agenda was the review and photographing of the pension and land records of the family of my 3rd great grandmother, Cynthia (Day) Bursley. Most interesting was the file for Amos Day, a Union solider who died in a Georgia Confederate prison on 14 October 1864. His mother, Eunice (Boobar) Day, had filed for a mother’s pension, and as proof of Amos’ support, she included in her pension request several letters which showed Amos’ financial contributions toward the family. The first of these letters is dated 13 October 1856, while Amos is traveling west from Maine to Minnesota aboard the War Eagle. Continue reading
Downtown, a book about Minneapolis, and Grammer’s autograph book, provide clues to the mystery of my grandmother’s relationship with Cedric Adams, the Twin Cities radio announcer.
It all started with a tale told by my late Cousin Pat, a book about the history of Minneapolis, and a peculiar warning in Grammer’s autograph book.
“Grammer,” as my grandmother was called, was the epitome of what a grandmother should be – doting, kind, and indulgent. Okay, my mom probably didn’t appreciate the fact she spoiled me with candy and cookies, and showed me my Christmas gifts early, but I adored my grandmother. As I grew older, Grammer would share with me stories from her childhood. Later, as I became a genealogy addict, she was always interested in learning about my latest findings. After returning from a research trip in Grammer’s hometown of Minneapolis, I loaned her a book I’d purchased called “Downtown.” Little did I know I wouldn’t receive it back until Grammer had passed – but she would never tell me why or what happened to it!
A biography of Cedric Adams and an article written by him appear in this book that my grandmother didn’t want to give back to me.
Right after my grandmother’s death, I became reacquainted Grammer’s niece (my mother’s cousin), Pat (Anhorn) Blair. Cousin Pat told me of my grandmother’s wild teenage years, and I learned a side of Grammer that I’d never known before. The most interesting detail, however, was regarding Cedric Adams, an overwhelmingly popular radio announcer in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in the 1930s and 1940s. Continue reading
This notebook was used to hurriedly scribble down notes when interviewing my grandmother after reviewing old letters and photographs.
Spending the last few weeks working on a family history book has brought a few things to light. (Actually, it’s validated some of the mistakes I made along my genealogical journey.) I hope my public confessions will help a newbie or two avoid some of my errors. Here is my list of top things I wish I woulda done differently:
1. Followed Russ Worthington’s system of digital file organization.
I fear my digital files are a lost cause. Really. Continue reading